I used to believe that mindset books were just for those who were ‘depressed’ and needed to get their balance back. Or perhaps it was designed for people in a cult, attempting to get the followers on the same wave length and though patterns. How wrong was I!?
Through a quick research on the backgrounds of successful entrepreneurs, I found that the top performers read certain books that helped lift their mindset and beliefs, to create positive habits for success. As a result, I jumped on to Amazon (other friendly, local book retailers available), and picked up some of these mindset books.
Note that the list below are a general mix of books that I believe help with developing a positive mindset. There is some overlap with these and the other book categories. For example, to be a successful entrepreneur or property investor, one must have the right mindset and habits. It’s one thing to read about it, and another to actively live it.
Key: R = Highly Recommend; + = Read more than once. Last updated on January 2023 – please come back and check for any updates.
Mindset Books – General:
- Four Thousand Weeks – Oliver Burkeman: Focus on the key, important tasks, don’t get bogged down on the mundane. Work with ‘finitude’ – be productive, be happy.
- Mastery – Robert Green: Difficult read for me, mostly I think because of the print size and because I was on jury duty for a portion of the reading. Nevertheless, my key takeaway was have the confidence to continue learning, think differently. Practice and develop into an elite performer.
- Bounce – Matthew Syed: Similar to Black Box Thinking, training and practice leads to success.
- Thinking in Bets – Annie Duke: Currently in the process of reading, but so far great insight into belief bias and how we tend to make decisions.
- Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman: Be aware of your mindset, manage and regulate it based on the situation. By obtaining a higher ‘EQ’, it will equate to greater success in life. Mirror the habits, body language and mindset of those who are successful.
- Left Brain, Right Stuff – Phil Rosenzweig: Analyse, then take action. Reduce your biases – determine if it’s overestimation/precision/placement and clarify whether the outcomes are absolute or relative.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini: Remember the 6 weapons of Influence. Reciprocation, Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, Scarcity. Either use them to your ‘advantage’, or be conscious of them to minimise the impact of being persuaded
- Legacy – James Kerr: Always enjoy reading about sports, especially when it’s mixed with a bit of psychology. What we learn from the All Blacks is to take ownership and know your purpose, be adaptable and authentic, prepare and develop a legacy. Plant the tree that you’ll never see so someone else can enjoy its shade.
- The Daily Stoic – Ryan Holiday (R): Another Ryan Holiday stoicism speciality. One of my favourites as it offers up a nugget each day of the year to think about and act upon.
- 12 Rules of Life – Jordan B Peterson: A difficult read for me, most likely due to my less than sophisticated brain. There’s numerous Biblical references throughout the book to reinforce the concepts, but my key takeaway from it was to continually educate yourself, always aim to improve and be a better version of yourself than the previous day.
- The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday: All about perspective, find the weak spot and use it against the obstacle, focus on what you can change.
- Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday: Continue to learn. Keeps you humble and modest, be a team player, reflect on performance and identify where you can improve.
- The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control – Walter Mischel: Unfortunately I didn’t get to finish this book. It was in my laptop bag when it was stolen, but boils down to delaying gratification.
- Mindset – Dr Carol Dweck (R): Learning over achievement, journey over outcome, skills can be developed, teach – don’t judge. A more detailed review on the blog.
- The Subtle Art of not giving a f*** – Mark Manson: Choose what to care about, only focus on what you can control, be comfortable with being different, follow good values.
- Man’s Search for Meaning – Victor Frankl (R): Lovely book about having a purpose, then following through on it. As Nietzsche is quoted, “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How”, choose your attitude.
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain: Nothing wrong with being an Introvert – Be yourself, find your happy and quiet place, support your child to be who they are.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman: Your brain works in two systems. System 1 = intuition, existing beliefs lead to quicker thinking. System 2 = lazy, more thoughtful. leads to slower thinking. Everything is unpredictable, Humans place more emphasis on loss-aversion more.
- Awaken the Giant Within – Tony Robbins (R): One of the chunkiest books on the list, where you end up reading it in the voice of Tony Robbins. Decisions and commitment, not your conditions will determine your destiny. Change the vocabulary and metaphors that you use to change your mindset.
- Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance – Matthew Syed: Learn from failures and focus on marginal gains.
- The Chimp Paradox – Prof Steve Peters: Be aware of the Chimp, manage and nurture it. Replace the Gremlins with Autopilots. Do your best and be happy.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie (R,+): A classic. I think this makes most top 10 lists for non-fiction reading lists. Make others feel important, Remember names, Smile, Admit fault if wrong.
Mindset Books – Goals:
- Can’t Hurt Me – Dave Goggins (R): Amazing what the human body and mind can do. Believe in and push yourself, most tasks are mental-driven – utilise your full capacity. A more detailed review on the blog.
- The 10x Rule – Grant Cardone: Grant’s a big like Marmite/Vegemite, but I took the book on its face value. He tells us to think big, don’t be average – 10x goals + 10x effort = 10x results. Take massive action that no one else will.
- You are a Bad Ass – Jen Sincero: Focus on your goals – make the most of your time, be flexible but start doing, change your environment if it’s not working.
- The One Thing – Gary Keller (R,+): Focus on ONE thing and do it well! What will make my life easier/better, counterbalance (not balance), make it a success habit. Push that initial domino over…
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill (R,+): Know your end desire or goal, have faith so it becomes a sub-conscious thought, create actions to achieve goals, be decisive and persistent.
- The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz (R): One of the first books I read after starting again in 2017. Believe in success, stop making excuses, let go of fears/concerns, think and aim big.
Mindset Books – Habits:
- High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard: The 6 factors for high performance – Seek clarity, Generate energy, Raise necessity, Increase productivity, Develop influence, Demonstrate courage. If you visit Brendon’s website, you can take a free assessment to see where you are in each area. You can then see how you compare to the top performers in each area, and identify how you might improve.
- Atomic Habits – James Clear (R): A great read for those looking to create a Good Habit (or break a bad one). James suggest you must make it: Obvious, Attractive, Easy and Satisfying. To beat a ‘bad’ habit, do the opposite. Focus on systems.
- Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod (R): A great book for those looking to join the 5am club. Life SAVERS – Silence, Affirmations, Visualise, Exercise, Reads, Scribe – create positive habits before 8am to set the day up.
- The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg (R): Identify the Cue, Routine, Reward – change the routine to change habit, cravings reinforce the routine.
- The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy: Doing small changes, consistently to build momentum (Big Mo) can lead to significant changes in the long term. Very handy if you’re trying to start a new habit, like going to gym. No need to start on the heavy weights or mega-sets. Start off small and build on it.
Overall Themes and Tips:
As you can see, there’s lots of quality ones that I recommend. Based on the above reading, there are a few general concepts pop up in some of the mindset books. These include:
- A mindset is developed, you can change the one you have if you’re not comfortable with it. You can practise and grow a good, positive mindset even if you were ‘born’ with one.
- Small actions flow through to larger ones. The old saying about a butterfly flapping its wings…
- Although your actions can be small, you should always think big! We tend to overestimate what we achieve in a week, and underestimate what we achieve in a year or two. May as well go big!
If there’s any mindset books that I’ve missed that are “must-reads”, please let me know by popping them in the comments below.